Clare adores apologizing for “crashing out early” to explain why she hasn’t replied to the five quadmegatrillion texts I sent her right before she (and the rest of the human population) understands it’s time to go sleep. It’s kind of adorable in a very bizarrely self-deprecating way, like when a cat makes itself dizzy by putting itself into a blender and turning it on. Same thing.

Today, I called her on it. I said to her, “You sure enjoy apologizing for basic biological functions like sleeping.” Really, why apologize for the capacity to fall into blissful slumber without the benefit of lab-devised chemistry? Many a peer values being able to fall asleep full stop, so to hear another apologize for a natural talent to drop into a temporary coma seems foreign and/or adorable. Like when a cat makes itself dizzy by putting itself into a blender and turning it on. Same thing.

And the cat put itself in there. And plugged the blender into the wall after getting it off the top shelf of the pantry. And, as established, the cat turned it on by itself. What kind of monster do you think I am? I don’t like dizzy cats, not one bit.

Something about being in DBSA is that over the past six years I’ve learned how to connect with other peers by “speaking from my own experience.” The essential principle here is that we aren’t credentialed professionals so we can’t give advice. Instead, we relate to others and give roundabout advice by saying “In my experience I have found …” or “When faced with a similar situation this is what I did …” This is a developed skill that isn’t exclusively used for DBSA support groups. I’ve allowed this to bleed into the outside-group world as well. It turns out that the “you should” and “you need to” statements aren’t appreciated as much as some might think. It is not adorable, nothing like when a cat … I’m not a monster. You’re the monster.

It’s about relating one’s experiences to another’s experience as a way of understanding them better and to show that you truly can empathize because “you’ve been there, too.” So with Clare reflexively apologizing for the capacity to fall asleep with the willpower to wait until morning to read the crapload of texts I send (I hate texting, by the by), I figured I should make the effort to quell any unnecessary guilt she feels for “crashing out early,” as she puts it.

“You sure enjoy apologizing for basic biological functions like sleeping,” I texted her today. “I understand where you’re coming from, though. I hate it when I fart in an elevator stuffed shoulder to shoulder and I don’t take credit for it.”

Same thing.

And I hate texting. Five quadmegatrillion texts a day. Wow, I have turned into a monster.